The House of Representatives could file a second set of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump if former White House counsel Don McGahn provides further evidence of wrongdoing, justice committee lawyers argued in a court filing.
The Democrat-led justice committee is seeking McGahn's testimony as part of its impeachment probe, but Justice Department lawyers claim that Trump's impeachment last week renders McGahn's testimony obsolete.
McGahn resigned his position in October 2018, and served as a star witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He told Mueller that he had threatened to resign after being ordered by Trump to fire the special counsel.
The House of Representatives could file a second set of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump if new evidence of obstruction is obtained from former White House counsel Don McGahn, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee said Monday.
For several months, Democrats investigating Trump's impeachment have been seeking the testimony of McGahn. But the Justice Department argued in court filings Monday that the passage through the House of two articles of impeachment against Trump last week undermined their case for the necessity of McGahn's testimony.
In a court filing Monday, attorneys for the committee hit back, and argued that the impeachment investigation had not yet been wound up, and new action could be taken against Trump if fresh evidence emerged.
McGahn's testimony is "relevant to the Committee's ongoing investigations into Presidential misconduct and consideration of whether to recommend additional articles of impeachment," they wrote in the letter to a Washington DC circuit court.
"If McGahn's testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment," the lawyers wrote.
The court filing is the first submitted by Democrats as part of their probe since articles of impeachment were filed against Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. The charges relate to his bid to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, one of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Following his resignation from the White House in October 2018, McGahn served as one of the key witnesses in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — and allegations Trump sought to obstruct the probe.
McGahn told Mueller's investigators that he had been ordered by Trump to fire Mueller shortly after his appointment as special counsel in 2017, but threatened to resign rather than carrying out the order.
His evidence could form a key part of a second part of the impeachment probe that has so far received less attention to that related to Trump alleged abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine's president voted on by the House last week.
This part of the inquiry is seeking to establish whether Trump committed impeachable offences and obstructed justice in seeking to derail the Mueller probe, or whether any other evidence uncovered by Mueller could form grounds for impeachment.
To this end, they are also seeking grand jury evidence delivered as part of the Mueller probe but not included in the final report.
In the report, Mueller wrote that there not sufficient evidence to warrant filing charges against Trump or his associates for conspiring with Russia in a bid to secure victory in 2016. However, he declined to reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice, citing Justice Department guidelines prohibiting criminal charges being filed against a sitting president.
The Justice Department has also argued that last week's impeachment renders the request for the grand jusry evidence obsolete.
Politico reports that both the cases for obtaining the Mueller grand jury evidence and the case for hearing McGahn's testimony will be heard by judicial panels on January 3.